Keep it small.
Take it slow.
Make it beautiful.

This retreat weekend will focus on strengthening your craft, building relationships with other artists, and providing space for spiritual growth. 



With Tania Runyan 

Is it possible to teach someone how to write a poem? Or does poetry simply “come from the heart?”

Happily, it’s a little bit of both.

Seasoned and novice writers–and everyone in-between–benefit from intensive periods of writing within a supportive, prayerful community.

Over our time together, we will learn how to mine the depths of our spirits while also developing the finer points of poetic craft.

Since this workshop will focus on generating and revising new work, you may come as you are, pen and paper (or laptop, stone and engraving tools, etc.) in hand. Together we’ll employ strategies to assemble our personal, imaginative raw materials into poems that will surprise and intrigue.

Painting by Daniel vanHeyst

Painting by Daniel vanHeyst

Painting & Drawing

With Daniel vanHeyst

Pay attention. It's the first charge of the arist, and perhaps the most important.

This workshop involves taking a close look at very small objects. Small landscape details and tiny still life arrangements can reveal much beyond the first glance.

By making a series of drawings or paintings of the same carefully studied subject, we learn to see with care and attention. While Daniel Van Heyst will focus on painting and drawing, artists can choose to venture into another medium, such as digital macro-photography. Once an artist has spent time in her "go to" medium, Daniel will offer mixed-media supplies to enable further studies with less familiar tools.

*"To see the world in a grain of sand, and a Heaven in a Wild Flower. Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand. And Eternity in an hour."

~ William Blake*


Retreat Option

Discounted Rate of $525

Want more time to work on your art, your soul, or both?

Craft your ideal retreat weekend, with 9 hours to do what you want, while others are taking guided workshops. You still get all food, accommodations, community time and sacred space gatherings.  



Tania Runyan is the author of the poetry collections Second Sky, A Thousand Vessels, Simple Weight, and Delicious Air, which was awarded Book of the Year by the Conference on Christianity and Literature in 2007. Her instructional guides, How to Read a Poem and How to Write a Poem, are taught in schools across the country. Her poems have appeared in many publications, including Poetry, Image, Atlanta Review, Indiana Review, The Christian Century, Southern Poetry Review, and the anthology In a Fine Frenzy: Poets Respond to Shakespeare. She was awarded an NEA Literature Fellowship in 2011.

Tania Runyan's work can be found online at


Daniel vanHeyst is Professor of Drama and Visual Art at The King’s University in Edmonton.  For many years he has been designing theatre productions, including 14 seasons of The Canadian Badlands Passion Play in Drumheller. He was resident designer at Theatre Network from 1981-92, where he designed many premieres. Since 2007, he has been designing children’s theatre productions for Kompany Family Theatre. His artwork includes acrylic on canvas, encaustic, and mixed media pieces. Daniel has participated in several group shows and art auctions, and his paintings are held in dozens of private collections. His next exhibit will be in Phoenix, AZ.

Examples of his work may be found at


FCJ Christian Life Centre

219 19 Ave SW
Calgary, AB T2S 0C8

Situated on the banks of the Elbow River, the FCJ Christian Life Centre is only 10 blocks from downtown Calgary.

Access to bike paths and walk paths which link parks throughout the City are adjacent to the Centre, across the walking bridge which still bears the rail tracks of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Talisman Sports Centre, which offers swimming and other recreational facilities, is located nearby in Lindsay Park.


FCJ Christian Life Centre takes hospitality to heart, providing all meals, modern meeting rooms and clean, comfortable sleeping accommodations throughout the weekend. Bedding is also provided. 

Each attendee shares a room with one other attendee, with an optional privacy wall between, effectively creating two private rooms. Each shared room has access to their own washroom. 


Getting Here

By Car

FCJ Centre is easy to find and close to vibrant Calgary areas like the Beltline, 17th Ave and 4th Street. Click the map above to search for driving directions from your location. 

By Plane

If you are flying into Calgary, The FCJ Centre is roughly a half-hour drive from the Calgary International Airport.

An Airport Shuttle is available for $15 one way and will take you to the Hotel Arts, which is just 7 blocks from the retreat centre. The walk from there is about 10 minutes, or a quick cab or UBER will get you the rest of the way. 

You can also take Associated Cab from the Airport directly to the venue.


While check-in and check out times are firm, some elements in between may flex.


June 29

6 PM - Check-In

7 PM - Welcome Reception

8 PM - Introductory Workshop Session

9 PM - Fireside 'ArtLuck' (optional)


June 30

8 AM - Breakfast

9 AM - Workshop Session

12 PM - Lunch

1 PM - Creative Time

3 PM - Group Activity (Optional)

5:30 PM - Supper

8 PM - Evening Worship

9 PM - Fireside 'ArtLuck' (Optional)


July 1

Happy Canada Day!

8 AM - Breakfast

9 AM - Workshop Session

12 PM - Lunch

1 PM - Creative Time

2 PM - Final Workshop Session

4 PM - Free Time

5:30 PM - Supper

8 PM - Evening Worship

9 PM - Fireside 'ArtLuck' (Optional)

10:30 PM - Canada Day Fireworks Trip (Optional) 


July 2

8 AM - Breakfast

9 AM - Closing Celebration, Sharing and Reflection

11 AM - Check Out

12 PM - Lunch

1 PM - Fond Farewells!

All-in pricing of $650 Canadian covers your long weekend of instruction, accommodations and food.

Or take our Retreat Option, without a guided workshop, for $525.

Click the button to choose your track and register today.

Some Common Questions

Can I pay in installments?

No. To keep things simple, payment must be made in full when you register.

Can I get a discount for my group?

Yes! We've introduced a friends and groups discount to make this even more affordable for you. If you have a friend attending with you, or you're part of a group, you can each come for just $550! Each person registering must choose the group option on check out, and we'll contact you to confirm who is in your group.

Can I get a refund if I cannot make it?

Yes and no. Within the first 48 hours of your registration, you can get a full refund, minus any service fees charged by our online registration provider, Picatic (we'll show you clearly what those are if you require this refund). After 48 hours, there is a non-refundable $100 portion, and the rest is fully refundable until June. After June, there are no refunds (excepting the 48 hour policy above), but registrations are transferrable, so long as space is available in the desired track.

What will the 'faith' component of the weekend look like?

One goal of this weekend is to help artists grow spriritually, and we are rooted in the Christian faith tradition. Our hosts are Jesuit nuns, our retreat producers are Anglicans and our instructors come from various Evangelical traditions. In other words, this is an ecumenical event with wide-open doors. To respect a broad spectrum of traditions, the weekend will be light on doctrine/theology and heavy on offering spaces to seek out and connect with God in a way that is meaningful for you. All spiritual experiences during the weekend are optional, so you can feel free to participate or sit out for those portions of the weekend. Or a little of both. Artists of any belief, or no belief, are welcome to attend.


Contact Us

If you have a question we haven't answered here, please reach out. You can email or use the form below.


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